5 things every high school freshman *needs* to know

High school movies and TV shows definitely do not help incoming high schoolers feel *any* less nervous about what they should expect. We are here to tell you that Mean Girls, Clueless, Gossip Girl and any other high school movie or show are *nothing* like the real thing. Movies and TV shows make high school all about drama, cliques and the cute football player who picked up your lunch tray. While these may play a *tiny* role in your high school experience, it is certainly not all of it. The stress that comes with being an incoming freshman is like none other, but we are here to help! And don't worry, none of our advice has to do with battling Regina and her minions or dealing with an anonymous girl who posts all your drama on Gossip Girl.

We are here to tell you the most crucial things you need to know about high school. And as we reach mid-semester, we've got you set with making new friends, working with teachers, joining clubs and dealing with the worst thing ever, aka procrastination. 

1. How to meet your new besties

Friends are one of the best parts of high school, but if you are new to a school or just want to make some new friends, we have some super easy ideas that will help you. First off, remember that *every* freshman is just as nervous as you—even if you have made it in a few weeks.

So don't be afraid to compliment someone on their adorable fit, sit next to someone new in a class or (if you're feeling extra brave) ask someone to hang out after school. Your positive attitude will not only help them be more confident, but it may just land you your new high school BFF. If you're a little too nervous about doing any of these, we encourage you to just do one thing a little outside your comfort zone (even if that means just saying hi to someone new).  The best way to improve the days you miss your bus, are also late to class and fail a quiz is with amazing friends. They also make the days when you wear an adorable outfit, ace a test and get asked out by your crush so much better.

2. Be the girl with...

If you're struggling to meet your people, something you can do is make something memorable about yourself. (Tip: small things are better.) One of the easiest things you can do is wearing super fun jewelry. Not only will people start up a convo with you to ask you where they're from, but the more you wear them, the more people will associate them with you in particular.

Another very easy thing is always (and we mean always) having gum with you. Most high schoolers always want gum, and if you are their go-to person for it, you are building a possible friendship with someone because they will always recognize you. (Tip: Always keep at least one pack for yourself so that you don't run out of your fave flavor). Some other easy things you could do are having a fun backpack, wearing the coolest rings or having fantastic makeup. Whatever you're into is perfect. You do you!

3. How to get over your fear of that one teacher

(BTW...the following advice comes straight from a high school teacher!)

At almost any high school, you can guarantee that one teacher scares nearly everyone (at least the first year). Upperclassmen could have told class horror stories, or maybe their class is super hard and boring, or you think they don't like you (tip: they probably do like you). Whatever the reason, the scary teacher exists.

To you, they are like the scary ghost in a haunted house, except the house is the school hallway, and all they're doing is walking to their office. No one wants to be scared of a teacher, especially days before a test that will hold questions you will have no idea how to answer unless you go and talk to them.

Here is where our advice comes in: Do not wait until days before your first test to meet with the teacher you're scared to meet with (or any teacher for that matter). Go in prepared with either a super simple question or one you might even know the answer to. This meeting will allow the teacher to get to know you and let them see you want to succeed in their class. It allows you to see what they are like one-on-one and shows you that their office is not a scary place where they plan to make you despise them or their class. Teachers are there to help you succeed. And who knows, perhaps you'll see that there is nothing to be afraid of and maybe, just maybe, you'll begin to like them.

4. The truth behind joining clubs

One piece of advice you will hear a million times during your first year of school, during your first year of school and probably the week after, is to join as many clubs and play as many sports as you can.

Unfortunately, this advice is only helpful to an extent. Joining clubs is a fantastic way to meet new people and get the opportunity to learn about or do new things. BUT, the point of a club is to get to do something you're interested in because then you can enjoy it. So if you want to join a ton of clubs to see what you're interested in, then do it! Just don't join as many clubs as possible just because someone told you to. Remember, you also need to go to meetings, and if you are in ten different clubs, those hours start to add up.

By joining a club you're interested in, you'll meet other people who have the same interests as you. As a new student at a new school, any way to meet new people will benefit you in the long run. The same goes for sports. If you are only joining a sport because you think it will appeal to colleges or certain people, you won't get anything valuable out of it. Sports and clubs help build a tight-knit community of people with similar interests, values and goals. Extracurriculars make school so much more fun, and by joining the ones you like, you will meet so many people and get to do so many fun things!

5. Procrastination is the worst, but here's how to deal with it

No one wants to procrastinate, but it still happens. It could be studying for a Spanish test, finishing a biology project or just doing your math homework. You probably tell yourself you will spend ten minutes scrolling TikTok, but suddenly it's 11 p.m., and you've done zero homework. If this sounds familiar, we have some easy tricks for getting your work down on time.

First off, if you have no way of writing down what exactly you need to be doing, find one. Some people like planners and bullet journals, or you could even use an app. Now that you have some way to write down your assignments, we recommend doing something to make it super aesthetic and fun. Stickers, fun pens, markers and even tape make for some great additions. 

Next, try carving out specific times in your day to work on homework. It could be thirty minutes or two hours (whatever works for you). If people distract you, go to another room. If it's your phone, turn it off and put it out of reach and sight. Wherever you do your work, make sure it has everything you might need (and it also doesn't hurt for it to be super aesthetic). Finally, maybe grab yourself a snack and then hit the books.

If you're stressed, just know that your self-worth is not decided by a grade. Sometimes, if you've had an uneventful day and feel unmotivated, it can be tough to get things done. That is why trying to get work done early can be beneficial. Another tip is to have low-stress tasks to complete throughout the day. It could be doing a short workout, making your bed or just getting ready in a cute fit. Anything that makes you feel just the tiniest bit accomplished can help to jumpstart your day. Lastly, having a great group of friends that can help and support you will be so helpful!

What are you most excited about this upcoming school year? Let us know on Twitter @girlslifemag!

Good luck! You've got this!

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by Miriam Riley | 10/5/2021